Sermons

Summary: Reorienting our vision of Jesus Christ as the Sovereign Lord and King of the universe. Christ is completely victorious and our view of Christ determines our actions and faith here on earth.

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Once Again The Cosmic Christ

By Craig R. Dumont, Sr.

Psalm 99:1-5 & Psalm 110

Historian Will Durant wrote perhaps the most popular multi-volume series on the history of civilization. Volume three is titled Caesar and Christ and he starts with a most remarkable admission for a non-Christian scholar that should make contemporary Christians sit up and take notice. In fact, so powerful are several of Durant’s passages assessing Christianity that it literally made me want to stand up and shout "We gave You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned" (Rev. 11:17).

Let me quote just two passages from his book, the first coming right in the preface:

The study of antiquity is properly accounted worthless except as it may be made living drama, or illuminate our contemporary life. The rise of Rome from a crossroads town to world mastery, its achievement of two centuries of security and peace from the Crimea to Gibraltar and from the Euphrates to Hadrian’s Wall, its spread of classic civilization over the Mediterranean and western European world, its struggle to preserve its ordered realm from a surrounding sea of barbarism, its long, slow crumbling and final catastrophic collapse into darkness and chaos—this is surely the greatest drama ever played by man; unless it be that other drama which began when Caesar and Christ stood face to face in Pilate’s court, and continued until a handful of hunted Christians had grown by time and patience, and through persecution and terror, to be first the allies, then the masters, and at last the heirs, of the greatest empire in history.

Far into the book, way back on page 652, Durant brings us to the conclusion of Caesar and Christ with his chapter on The Triumph of Christianity. He summarizes the triumph shaping up as early as 311 AD when,

Galerius, suffering from a mortal illness, convinced of failure [to rid the empire of Christianity], and implored by his wife to make his peace with the undefeated God of the Christians, promulgated an edict of toleration, recognizing Christianity as a lawful religion and asking the prayers of the Christians in return for "our most gentle clemency."

The Diocletian persecution was the greatest test and triumph of the Church. It weakened Christianity for a time through the natural defection of adherents who had joined it, or grown up, during the half century of unmolested prosperity. But soon the defaulters were doing penance and pleading for readmission to the fold. Accounts of the loyalty of martyrs who had died, or of "confessors" who had suffered, for the faith were circulated from community to community . . . "The blood of martyrs," said Tertullian, "is seed." There is no greater drama in human record than the sight of a few Christians, scorned or oppressed by a succession of emperors, bearing all trials with a fierce tenacity, multiplying quietly, building order while their enemies generated chaos, fighting the sword with the word, brutality with hope, and at last defeating the strongest state that history has known. Caesar and Christ had met in the arena, and Christ had won.


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